Tips to Decrease Overeating and Stress During the Holidays


The holidays are about social gatherings, traditions old and new, and fostering an everlasting appreciation for those you love. However, what can you do when stressful situations get between you and a good time? From managing your loved ones’ commitments to creating the menu, this time can be a lot to handle. If you are feeling stressed out, rest assured knowing you are not alone. A study carried out by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed that 38% of individuals have higher levels of stress during the holiday season. Here are a few ideas from the experienced gastroenterologists at GI Alliance on ways you can ward off stress-eating and help you dominate any anxiety you encounter (and more) that often crops up this time of year. Please contact our digestive health team for additional details.

Tip 1: Limit overly processed food to help with digestive health

The grumbling in your tummy may not actually be due to a second trip to the food table. The bacteria in your gut may alter if you ingest processed foods. The consumption of processed foods allows molecules to get through your system and into your cytosolic pathway. This can increase irritation in the stomach. It is best to limit processed foods and spend a little bit of time preparing your holiday meals with fresh, local options. Prepare the green bean casserole with fresh green beans. Create desserts with deliciously fresh and local berries. Replacing packaged and processed foods for fresh products can make all the difference. If your gut health concerns require more assistance, the skilled gastrointestinal doctors at a GI Alliance office near you will suggest ideas to get you back to feeling normal.

Tip 2: Eat a snack before you leave your house

Overindulging is very prevalent during the holiday season and can sometimes lead to gastrointestinal issues. Between warm pie, your favorite casseroles, and all the cookies, preventing holiday weight gain is tough. Enjoy carbs with protein to keep yourself content in the interim before dinner. This can be as simple as wheat toast with a nut butter. A few other easy carb and protein options include:

  • Cheese and grapes
  • A granola bar
  • Hard-boiled eggs and an apple
  • Hummus and your favorite veggies

Tip 3: Try smaller meals to minimize overconsumption

There is little doubt that with the extent of the delectable food at hand, you will likely want to grab it and go. Monitor your food consumption and put a smaller amount of food on your plate. Choosing smaller portions can allow your stomach to more easily digest the foods you eat. In addition, you may not be as uncomfortable and full when you choose smaller portion sizes. Being mindful of your GI tract is prudent when attempting to keep yourself from overindulging. If you feel sated before you finish your plate, stop eating. Your body is giving the signal that it has had enough for now.

Tip 4: Follow a list to feel less stressed

Having lists keep you on track and organized during the holidays. Developing a list can ensure your shopping lists stay on task. Furthermore, it helps with understanding your household's busy schedules and allows for a sense of contentment. Taking the time to write a list provides organization to chaos. It helps reduce distress and relieve the holiday stress you've been having.

Tip 5: Combat holiday stress with kindness

The old adage “Treat everyone how you wish to be treated” rings true every day of the year. However, it is particularly true during the holidays when stress is elevated. When searching for options to minimize stress, answer each obstacle with a kind approach. Tamping down any sense of frustration and offering compassion alleviates worries. It also makes all people feel cherished and safe.

Take a stress-free approach to the holidays

No matter what your plans for the holiday season might entail, our GI team is pleased to provide tips to help you delight in the joys of the season with your family and friends. Knowing you have these tips and options on hand to control stress will help make the holidays easier. Should you have digestive health issues or need additional tips, reach out to the seasoned digestive health specialists at GI Alliance.